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During my sophomore year of college, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Italy. For an entire summer, I adventured my way through a beautiful, romantic country that was thousands of years older than my own. I slept under the same stars as Michelangelo, met the David face-to-face, and walked through Roman ruins that once housed Pontius Pilot as he presided over the trial of Jesus Christ.
It was supposed to have been the best summer of my life. But rather than basking in the beauty, history, and unique experiences available to me, my mind was completely consumed with anxious, guilt-ridden thoughts about food, weight, and my body. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be more mentally present though. I longed to experience the freedom and joy I saw in my classmates, who didn’t seem to care at all what they looked like in beachwear or whether they’d gain weight from pesto sauce or a scoop of gelato. While my friends were eating and drinking their way through Italy, I was completely consumed by painstaking attempts to control my eating and my body.
Anorexia - Treatment - Program - Body - Weight
After developing anorexia at fourteen and subsequently starting a treatment program, my body weight was quickly restored. The condition of my heart, however, took much longer to heal. Even after regaining my physical health, I still struggled emotionally and spiritually, unable to reconcile my self-image, my sense of identity, and my view of my worth as a human. I was disgusted by my reflection, I agonized over fear of weight gain, and I resented myself every time I ate something that I felt I shouldn’t – things like pastries, pasta, and ice cream. While I’d mistakenly believed that the excitement of journeying to another country would allow me to leave my food struggles behind, I instead...
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